19 State Attorneys General Declare Opposition to HHS’ Proposed Conscientious Objection Rule

New York Law Journal

Kristen Rasmu

A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed rule that would more vigorously protect health care providers’ ability to deny coverage in certain circumstances because of moral or religious beliefs should be withdrawn, according to a coalition of state attorneys general.

The proposed rule would strengthen the enforcement of existing regulations that allow providers to invoke conscientious objections as a basis for refusing to provide care that involves certain medical issues, including abortion, sterilization, assisted suicide and others. It also would allow individual providers to object to informing patients about their medical options or referring them to providers of those options. . . [Full Text]

Doctors Condemn Massachusetts Suicide Bill

Bill would force every doctor to participate in prescribing lethal medication

The Washington Free Beacon

Bill McMorris

Doctors in Massachusetts are speaking out against a proposal to approve physician-assisted suicide, arguing that its End of Life Options Act could force all doctors to participate in doling out lethal medication and pressure patients into suicide.

On Tuesday, Dr. Tom Sullivan, former president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, led more than 20 physicians into the statehouse to urge lawmakers to oppose a bill that would grant immunity to doctors who help terminal patients kill themselves. . .  the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) overturned its long-standing condemnation of the practice and voted to remain neutral on the legislation.  Sullivan and several other former MMS presidents spoke out against the neutral stance during debate. While they were unsuccessful in swaying the vote, they were able to insert language into the society’s stance, including conscience protections for any doctor who objected to the practice. The current bill includes no such protections . . . [Full text]

Protection of conscience provision in Massachusetts assisted suicide bill

House Bill 1998 (2013)

An Act affirming a terminally ill patient’s right to compassionate aid in dying

Protection of conscience provisions are included in a bill to
legalize assisted suicide in Massachusetts for residents who are at least 18
years old and diagnosed with a terminal illness with a life expectancy of six
months or less.  It is not clear from the text of the statute whether or
not an objector is exempt from all parts of the assisted suicide process [per
Section 4(b)ii], or only from the requirement to actually provide the lethal
medication [per Section 4(1)].  Similarly, it is not clear whether or not
an objector is required to refer or otherwise assist a patient to find someone
who will provide a lethal prescription; Section 4(b)iv appears to imply an
expectation of referral or assistance.